Remember the good old days, when marketing was easy? As it happens, neither do I, but the fact remains that ten years ago, the world of marketing was a far less crowded, cluttered and complex place to inhabit. In days gone by it used to be enough to produce a great TV commercial or direct mail campaign, and then sit back and watch as the customer walked into your store or contacted you directly.
Today, however, the world is a very different place indeed. Today’s customers interact with you, not only where they want to, but crucially, also when they want to, through a number of digital platforms. Any insight you, as a marketer might have once had over your customers in terms of controlling their interactions through a traditional approach is now passé.
As a result, we are seeing the balance of power shifting from marketers to consumers, who expect to engage with your brand across multiple channels and devices and on multiple occasions. I like to call these multiple interactions ‘Zero Moments’, because they represent the ground zero for the customer decision-making process.
The question remains, how to be prepared? CMOs and other people in senior marketing roles are to deal with these Zero Moments, and gain control of these interactions? The unfortunate answer is that very few are sufficiently well equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by these new technologies and examples of customer behaviour.
Being present at these Zero Moments gives a CMO the control to influence not only customer interactions, but also their purchasing decisions. It’s one reason why more and more marketers are turning to third parties with technology expertise in order to help them.
By finding a technology partner that can understand and break through the barrier of technology to deliver marketing-linked outcomes, CMOs are beginning to fight back and reclaim control over the impact of their marketing operations.
Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that no two marketers are the same, and that what might work on one marketing campaign might not necessarily achieve the same on another. With this in mind, it’s imperative that CMOs are able to identify a partner that can combine relevant technological expertise and offer a customisable solution for their business.
There are a number of different ways in which a technology partner can help in this scenario, but organisations that are already working with technology partners have benefited from a variety of insights.
For example, these organisations are now able to use integrated analytics to gain a single view of customer and deeper insights across all customer interactions, regardless of channel of source. This single view of the customer can also help them to engage with customers at the Zero Moment and also integrate this engagement with other departments, including sales, R&D and creative teams.
By allowing CMOs to remove the complexity from the new, digital world of customer interaction and deliver a single view of customers and their preferences, technology partners are becoming an increasingly powerful weapon in the marketer’s arsenal. Although the balance of power has shifted towards customers in recent years, there’s no doubt that for CMOs, the cavalry has arrived in the shape of third party technology experts.
The battle for control over customer interactions may still be raging, but there seems little doubt that, by mastering technology, marketers are now well-placed to strike a decisive blow and allow them to face the Zero Moment of truth with far greater confidence!